Year Ends On Down Note, But Revenues Still Up

The City of Yankton’s December sales tax revenues weren’t quite as high as officials would’ve liked to have seen. 

Still, in spite of predictions of flat growth in 2020 that preceded the devastating COVID-19 pandemic, the city saw a positive year overall in terms of revenue.

While December 2020 was down -1.91% from the same month in 2019, the city overall finished up 1.08% on the year with a total revenue intake of $10,752,470.

The global pandemic certainly had an impact on figures, with the BBB (bed, board and booze tax) finishing down -5.61% compared to 2019. After a strong start, the city saw drops in May (-6.72%) and June (-1.16%) before a summer rebound. This included the city’s first $1 million month, recorded in July. But after the summer tourism season closed, the city saw falling revenues for the rest of the year starting in September.

City Finance Officer Al Viereck told the Press & Dakotan Wednesday that the pandemic’s delayed impacts on the economy contributed to the rollercoaster year for revenues.

“I think it’s the tightened economy and people still being a little hesitant to spend a lot of extra money,” he said. “The fact that we were still up in retail, which is the major portion of the sales tax we get in, is encouraging.”

However, he was pleased with how the city did on the year.

“I’m pleasantly surprised given what I’ve seen from a few other cities,” he said. “To be able to hold it to a slight positive, we’re real happy.”

With 2021 only a couple of weeks old, Viereck said that he has some hope for later in the year, but things could be tight as the pandemic continues to loom.

“Mostly because of coronavirus and the concern people have, it’s still affecting our economy and I’ve got to believe it’s going to be tough again,” he said. “Once we start to get into March, April and May, we’ll be going against the months (in 2020) that were depressed. I think we’re going to end up above if we can get COVID behind us, or at least the major portion of COVID behind us.”

Across the state, results were mixed on the year for South Dakota’s Top 10 First Class Cities Plus Vermillion.

As it was throughout the year, Aberdeen sat head-and-shoulders above everybody else with 19.33% growth recorded in 2020. Its nearest competitor, Spearfish, finished up 6.94% on the year. In total, five cities recorded negative totals with Huron (-2.53%) seeing the largest drop in revenue. Vermillion was down -1.30% on the year.

All the First Class cities combined saw a rise of 1.22% on the year.

Follow @RobNielsenPandD on Twitter.

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